Tails of the unexpected

8 Nov

JD, La Paz, Baja California, Mexico

I’m generally with Billy Connolly when it comes to the sea – if we were meant to go in it they wouldn’t have filled it with so many things that bite and sting and nip.

But a day’s snorkelling at Cabo Pulmo has changed all that – although the last words I heard before plunging in to the depths was “this is where I saw a grouper the size of a man”. Gulp!

Calm, beautiful clear waters above Baja’s only coral reef, amazing colourful fish, including a shoal of thousands and, to top it all, a colony of sea lions that swam below and around us. It was a magical experience finished off with a couple beers and some seafood tacos overlooking the bay.

The coastal drive to Cabo Pulmo was an experience in itself – 30 miles of washboard road and pot-holes, with the occasional sand trap. Apart from banging the propane tank off the odd rock and unnecessary speed bump the only casualty was a hub cap which we spied rolling down the road, retrieved and secured back in place.

Kitesurfers, La Ventana

Kitesurfing - looks great from here, but no thanks.

Completing the southern loop of Baja Sur we visited (and camped on) the beaches of Los Frailes, Los Barriles and La Ventana where, as the name suggests, it’s pretty windy – and a major centre for kiteboarding and windsurfing. Snorkelling was dangerous enough for me, so the idea of being blown through the air whilst strapped to a kite, suspended above the sea or crashing through the waves is a step too far. But it’s amazing fun to watch….

The state of some of the roads and the fact that we seem to enjoy heading for ever more remote beaches and villages has convinced us we need to get the van’s suspension raised if we are to avoid doing it permanent damage. So we’ve tracked down a highly recommended VW mechanic who is busy working on the van as I write. By the time we pick it up this evening it should be four inches higher.

So in the meantime we’re busy practising our Spanish… something we need to do more of after, well, let’s just call it ‘fishgate’. Misunderstandings are common when you travel. Even as as a four-year-old I recall my dad marching into a chemist and confidently asking for a shampoo for his horse… sadly the words for horse and hair are very similar in French.

Barbeque

Mmm.. barbequed fish for dinner.

There’s already been many a time when meaning to say ‘I don’t understand’ we’ve told someone they don’t understand. And I did ask a policeman if there was a bench in the town instead of a bank.

So what of ‘fishgate’? I still maintain it wasn’t our fault. We’ve been buying whole fish (pescado entero) to BBQ regularly. Only last night entero not only meant with head and tail, but guts too. It was a messy business.

And so to avoid similar mishaps in future we turned to the dictionary. But all I can say now is “I am gutted”. I was… but it shows why more practise is necessary.

Baja Sur: Click here for the latest pics

Days: 36
Miles: 1,792.5
Things we now know to be true: Sometimes whole really does mean whole.

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6 Responses to “Tails of the unexpected”

  1. lucy November 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I feel fate is pulling us together…my love (and newfound skills) of filleting fish and your disgust at it. Surely it’s a match made in fish heaven. I’m not sure I could deal with a grouper the size of a man though, but I’d give it a try.

  2. erika November 9, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    very jealous of the snorkelling but like my fish to come from M&S in some breadcrumbs!

  3. Mary, David, and Chris November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Oh Wow! We want to see pics of the van when it’s lifted FOUR INCHES! Now THAT should be AWESOME!

    • jeremyandpaula November 15, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      We’ll send you some pics asap. It is indeed awesome!!

      • Marek January 9, 2013 at 7:10 am #

        Won’t that put a lot of stress on the CV joints? I’d be careful about lifting above the stock height when empty…

  4. Gary Rubin November 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Hi Paula and Jeremy! So good to see the tales of the journey! We had such a great time snorkeling with you all in Cabo Pulmo………..what fun, beauty and interest————-we will always remember the colors, the sea lions and the enormous school of fish—————-and laughing, eating and drinking with you all afterwards ( as well as Rebecca and Grace from down under, with whom we were joined at the the hip, after that, for 2 solid days). I am glad you all are getting the bus jacked up……..great idea! Look forward to the updates and as Linda Ellerbee wrote many years ago ( and the name of her book) Take Big Bites ( but then you two are already!) Hope our paths criss and cross again someday………we loved the Baja and only wish we had more time to explore more than just Cabo Pulmo but it was a blast, the time we did have………All the best, Gary and Katie from NC

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